National News

National News at a Glance

Posted June 13, 2018 10:05 p.m. EDT

Speaker Says Trump Is All In on Next Week’s Immigration Votes

Speaker Paul Ryan, seeking to unite his fractious conference around a compromise immigration bill, assured Republican lawmakers during a closed-door session Wednesday that President Donald Trump is backing the effort, though passage of the measure next week remains in doubt. Wednesday’s gathering came less than 12 hours after Ryan’s office announced that the House would consider immigration next week — but not bipartisan bills prompted by a desire to protect young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Instead, lawmakers will consider a measure that emphasizes border security and the somewhat more moderate compromise measure that meets Trump’s standards.

Fearing Wrath of Trump, Republicans Back Down on Free Trade

They have issued news releases and sent tweets. But when it came time to stand up to President Donald Trump on tariffs this week, Senate Republicans took a pass, casting aside the party’s commitment to free trade for fear of poking the bear. At least that is how Sen. Bob Corker interpreted the outcome of an intraparty fight. “Gosh, we might poke the bear,” Corker, R-Tenn., said with fake outrage. Republican leaders blocked a vote on Corker’s amendment to a defense policy bill that would have required the president to get congressional approval to impose tariffs on national security grounds.

Trump’s Fixer Parting With Lawyers as Federal Investigation Continues

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s fixer, will soon be parting from the lawyers who are representing him in a federal investigation into his business dealings, according to two people familiar with the case. Prosecutors have not yet approached Cohen to seek his cooperation, but the pressure on him may well intensify. Cohen’s lawyers — from the firm of McDermott Will & Emery — are expected to stay with him for at least the rest of the week as they struggle to complete a review of documents and data files seized from their client. After that, Cohen will seek new counsel.

Iowa Congressman Retweets a Nazi Sympathizer

Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a Republican with a history of making inflammatory statements about immigrants and promoting white nationalist views, drew criticism Tuesday after retweeting a British activist who is a prominent Nazi sympathizer. The activist, Mark Collett, is the former chairman of the Young BNP, the youth arm of the far-right British National Party. Collett’s tweet was a screenshot of a Breitbart article titled “Vast Majority of Under-35 Italians Now Oppose Mass Migration,” and his commentary: “Europe is waking up...” King’s retweet included a comment of his own: “Europe is waking up...Will America...in time?”

Senate Aide Accused of Lying to FBI Pleads Not Guilty

A former top staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of lying to the FBI about his contacts with reporters, and his defense lawyer accused the Justice Department and President Donald Trump of making inappropriate comments about the case that could poison the jury pool. The former staff member, James A. Wolfe, appeared before a magistrate judge at the federal courthouse in Washington. Wolfe was indicted last week on three counts of lying to FBI agents working on a leak investigation, but has not been charged with unlawfully disclosing classified information.

Texas Woman Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Voter Fraud Loses Bid for New Trial

A judge who sentenced a Texas woman to five years in prison for voting illegally because she was a felon turned down on Monday the woman’s bid for a new trial. “Prison is a lot closer for her today,” Alison Grinter, a lawyer for the woman, Crystal Mason, 43, said Tuesday, noting that her client would appeal the decision to a higher court. Mason was convicted of illegal voting in a one-day trial held March 28 before Judge Ruben Gonzalez, a state district court judge who sentenced her that day to five years in prison. She has been free on bond.

Huge Dust Storm on Mars Threatens NASA’s Opportunity Rover

A vast dust storm blanketing about a quarter of the surface of Mars has threatened NASA’s Opportunity rover, plunging the solar-powered vehicle into what the space agency has described as a “dark, perpetual night." With its primary energy source obscured, the rover, which sits in the Perseverance Valley of Mars near the center of the storm, appears to have automatically entered a power-saving mode in which it will remain until the sun re-emerges, officials said. “We’re concerned, but we’re hopeful that the storm will clear and the rover will begin to communicate with us,” said Opportunity project manager John Callas.

Ex-Fraternity Member at Penn State Is 1st to Plead Guilty in Hazing Death

A former fraternity member at Penn State University Wednesday became the first person to plead guilty in a case stemming from the death of a pledge after a binge-drinking hazing ritual, an episode that roiled the campus and prompted a move to toughen anti-hazing laws. Ryan Burke, 21, a former member of the university’s Beta Theta Pi chapter, pleaded guilty in a Pennsylvania court to nine misdemeanor charges, including four counts of hazing. Timothy Piazza was 19 when he died in February 2017 after drinking copious amounts of alcohol and falling numerous times, injuring his brain and rupturing his spleen.

Florida Police Chief and 2 Officers Are Accused of Framing Teenager for Burglaries

A former police chief in Florida who wanted to appear to be a successful crime fighter instructed two officers to arrest a 16-year-old for four burglaries, even though they had no evidence that the teenager was the culprit, an indictment said. The chief, Raimundo Atesiano, and the officers, Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez, were charged this week with conspiracy against the right to be free from unreasonable seizure by police, and depriving the teenager of that right, according to the indictment. A hearing for Atesiano was held Monday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in Miami.